Every morning that we wake up, we continue the find that the world has changed. And even throughout the day, sometimes by the hour, our lives are interrupted, and too often with an impending sense of fear, sadness, and maybe a little confusion. I mean, haven’t we all sat in the kitchen recently and quietly whispered, “What is happening?”

But we are Teton Valley and we relish a good opportunity to roll up our sleeves and get down to the brass tacks of lifting people up, filling in the gaps, and finding ways to see the better in the days to come.

More specifically, in the last two weeks since COVID-19 breached the county border, we have witnessed this at a local government level. As journalists, we have seen county staff, and officials, electeds and decision makers sitting together and really, with all the heart and soul that they have, trying to work in the service of others. But, alas, the Teton Valley News has been denied a seat at the table as county leadership and staff grapple with the reality that a global pandemic just walked through the front door of Teton Valley.

At the Teton Valley News, the county’s paper of record, we would like to ask, again, for a seat at this table. Now is not the time for bunker-style meetings where the fourth estate is uninvited as we were last Monday when these meetings started. As mayors, the commission chair, medical professionals and others gathered to discuss news, policy and updates in the midst of an emergency declaration by the state, the TVN was asked to step outside. We’ll send you the press release, they said.

And we get it. Seriously. We do, because we’re all scared, we’re all a little sweaty at night thinking about our aging parents and our young children. We’re all feeling sadness and loss. And not just the loss of the normal cadence of our lives, but the overwhelming loss of certainty, predictability and even sanity.

Dear county leadership, if we could make it any more clear that we at the newspaper want to help shoulder the weight, ease the workload, seek out a better future, by doing what we do best – pumping out clear and concise information – we humbly submit that in this unprecedented time, our goal is your goal. But, in order to do the work that we have trained and practiced to do, we need a seat at the table.

After all, this is not about us. This is not about you. This is about all of the valley, together.

#ladypaper

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